USCIS Developing Updates for Naturalization Test

HomeNews & EventsUSCIS Developing Updates for Naturalization Test

Immigration News & Events



USCIS Developing Updates for Naturalization Test

Share This Post: facebooktwitterLinkedIn

On December 14, 2022, USCIS announced that the agency will be holding trials to develop potential changes for the tests used when an individual applies to become a U.S. citizen.[1] Currently, the test is composed of two major parts: an English test and a civics test. The English portion includes assessing petitioner’s verbal and written comprehension by verbally reviewing the petitioner’s application with them and asking them to read and write one sentence in English.  The civics test asks petitioners 10 questions regarding U.S. history and civics from a pool of 100 publicly available questions, of which the petitioner needs to answer 6 correctly to pass.[2]

The upcoming trial, which is detailed in the Federal Register, includes the following two proposed changes[3]:

  1. A speaking portion of the test wherein the petitioner must describe in English 3 photos from a pool of 40. These photos should contain things an individual would see or do in ordinary life, such as daily activities, the weather, or food. It is unclear if all three must be described correctly or only one.
  2. Updating the civics questions to be multiple choice but containing much of the same content as the current test. It appears this change will require applicants to do more reading, as the test was previously read aloud to petitioners by USCIS officers.

Depending on the results of the trial, these changes may or may not be implemented into the test in the future. While the shift to multiple-choice questions may be helpful for those with general testing anxiety, the updated speaking portion seems redundant. Currently, petitioners are asked general conversational questions at the beginning of the interview and then Officers proceed with verbally reviewing the entire 20-page form with the petitioner. This current practice would presumably continue under the updated testing parameters (as the form must still be reviewed with the petitioner) and should be more than enough to assess a petitioner’s verbal English comprehension. While the photograph portion of the interview should hopefully go quickly, adding any additional time to a process that already has a backlog of well over a year is questionable. Furthermore, it introduces the risk of arbitrary denial when petitioners forget the right words for randomly selected photographs when they may otherwise be perfectly fluent in English.

The trial will run for five months in 2023. If you have comments on these changes, USCIS invites comments to be submitted to natzredesign22@uscis.dhs.gov.


On December 5, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti for 18 months. Under this announcement, Haitian nationals…


After massive swings in the dates by which immigrants may apply for permanent residency over the last two years, we are seeing massive retrogression in the eligibility dates in new…



Recognized Leaders In
Immigration Law

Joseph & Hall P.C. is a full-service immigration law firm. We pride ourselves on being nationwide experts in all areas of immigration law, including the practice areas listed below. Our attorneys frequently are asked to speak both locally and nationally on a wide variety of immigration topics. For an overview of each practice area, please click the links below. If you have any questions about how these practice areas may apply to your case, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.


We Are Committed to Your Dreams.

Countless people dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. If your application was rejected by the USCIS, we are here to fight for your best interests.

Get in touch with us. Write us a message.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Tap Here To Schedule An Appointment
It's Fast & Easy